So there it is. The Hawks officially have the longest points-streak (or unbeaten streak) to start a season in NHL history. This one isn’t even tainted by the NHL’s new-ish format (mostly), as the Hawks haven’t lost in OT even. Under the old system — y’know, one that made sense — the Hawks would just have three ties to go with their 14 wins.
It’s cool to say now. I guess I’m glad it happened. But in a few months, it’ll either be a nugget that goes along with something we’ll remember much more fondly and distinctly, or it’ll be a marker for what could and probably should have been. It’s a record that is designed to be buried by what comes after it. After all, can you name who has the most wins to start an MLB season? You can’t. It’s the ’82 Braves and ’87 Brewers. And I had to look that up, because neither went on to win anything.
But we’ll enjoy it for now. Tonight’s game — and I don’t mean to draw a comparison to the quality of the teams — had a feel of a Bulls game during the height of the Jordan Era. There’s this misconception among some in town that the Bulls were up 30 after every 1st quarter in those years. But that’s now how it worked. Generally, the Bulls would have the other team hang around for a half, maybe even well into the 3rd quarter while the Bulls sought the urge to care or at least stop concentrating on what casino or club or hosebag they were going to get on that night. Then a 16-2 run would just appear out of nowhere, and it was game over and Jordan was sitting on the bench laughing with Pippen halfway through the 4th.
Again, these Hawks are not Jordan Era Bulls. But tonight had that feel. The Hawks played with the Sharks for most of two periods. Letting them have a bit too many chances, and not working quite hard enough in the other end to cause the roof to cave in. Then in six game minutes the Hawks had two goals, and it never really felt like the Sharks were going to tie it.
And that is that. To the….
Observations And Reflections
-Dan Carcillo’s one or two shifts caused something of an uproar from those on the meatball side of the ledger and those not. It probably had to do more with lines being jumbled due to penalty killing and Brandon Saad taking Bolland’s spot on the kill.
Luckily, Saad showed everyone why he’s battened down that first line role. His hesitation and exploitation of the space the ever-bewildered looking and playing Brent Burns gave him shows a scorer’s instinct that will lead to many goals one day. He was the most active forward on that line tonight. Saad had hit something of a wall the past few games, which is understandable in his first full season in pro hockey. Here’s hoping tonight sparks a second wind, as he answers a lot of the questions the Hawks have about sizable forwards.
-Until the Hawks started conga-lining to the penalty box, I thought Nick Leddy was having a strong game. Three end-to-end rushes and a few more times he skated the Hawks out of trouble in their zone. But much like Kane, when they pile up the penalties that causes Leddy to lose rhythm. And he’s more than a little part of the Hawks’ overall rhythm.
-For the first half of the game, Q chose to match Bolland’s line against Thornton’s. And they got buried. There were at least three shifts where they spent the entire shift in the defensive zone. Considering how well Kruger, Frolik, and Shaw are playing, it may be that Bolland’s line is the last line that should be considered for top checking duties right now. Whenever Bolland is healthy again.
-With a minute to go and the Sharks with the extra man, Q sent out Kane, Shaw, and Kruger. I guess the reason was….um….hey look over there!
-Dear God the United Center ice sucks. Again, I just want someone in the organization other than a player to admit it sucks. Only after you admit you have a problem can the healing begin.
-Toews won 15 of 19 draws.
-Kane’s been a strange study lately. He’s shied away from contact the past few games at times, and then there was that whole Wingels thing. Can’t have it both ways, kid.
-Andrew Shaw and Ryane Clowe in the last 10 seconds. Is that just about the biggest stupid-off you can have?
Jackets and Oilers next. The Hawks could put this streak in the clouds if they so choose.